Sunday, October 19, 2008

Just how quickly does Bokashi break down?

Over on the Wiggly Wigglers Facebook group there is a discussion on Bokashi (Bokashi Qs) and a few of us taking part in an experiment to see how quickly finished Bokashi breaks down under certain conditions, whether on a normal compost heap, in a compost bin, in a wormery, dug into the soil or just left out.

I'm adding a finished bin into a wormery and will be keeping a close eye on how long this layer takes to be broken down into useful vermicompost.

So it's 19 October 2008 and I started off with a Bokashi bin that has been fermenting in my green house for the last 2 weeks. Firstly, I emptied the juice into a measuring container and got just over 3/4 pint which was added to a watering can and used for watering the winter pansies that are being brought on in the greenhouse, ready for planting out in a few weeks (once the summer flowers are done, dug up and composted).

Bokashi Experiment Bokashi Experiment

As you can see from the picture below I had added a load of shredded paper to the wormery yesterday partly as a base and partly to increase the amount of carbon in the bin. It also helps absorb excess moisture (always a problem in the UK with its incessant rain).

Bokashi Experiment

I then added a quarter of the finished bin before placing a large brown envelope over the top to keep things dark.

Bokashi Experiment Bokashi Experiment

I'll be checking this weekly to see how quickly it breaks down. One thing we have to remember though is things are getting cooler and the worms will slow down somewhat. It will be interesting (well I guess that may depend on your understanding of the word "interesting") to see how the same experiment works out in the Spring/Summer.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Not Quite Gardeners Question Time

On Friday I travelled down to Ledbury, dropped the family off at some friends and then (with an awful lot of help from Digital Doris, TomTom for short) drove on to Preston-on-Wye for "Not Quite Gardeners Question Time", a talk being given by Terry Walton (allotment guru from Jeremy Vine's Radio 2 show) and Richard Fishbourne of Wiggly Wigglers

Not Quite Gardeners Question Time

Amazingly I made it in time for a glass of mulled cider and was made very welcome by the team from Wiggly's, all of whom I have dealt with electronically in the past but never actually met. For me it was worth the journey down to actually meet everybody in person as much as to hear the banter between Richard and Terry, and even more so to find that they are all just as pleasant and easy to talk to as you expect from listening to the weekly podcast. Even Michael, technical wizz behind the podcast, catalogue, web site and just about any other form of media used by Wiggly Wigglers, put up with me asking questions behind the Wiggly's web site and how it all works.

The talk itself was fantastic, light hearted and full of audience participation; Terry makes stories of vegetable gardening entertaining, amusing and, above all, extremely informative, while Richard steers the conversation around to various composting techniques (standard, wormeries and Bokashi) and wild life, such as how important bees are in the garden etc. The only downside to the evening was being forced to sing "My. My. My. Dahlia" to the (not quite) tune of Tom Jones' "Delilah"!

Part one of the talk is available as Wiggly Podcast 0153.

And thanks again to Heather for inviting me down, being so welcoming and above all, not mentioning the cat argument from podcast 60!

All in all I had a great time and it was a real shame I had to get back to Ledbury and therefore turn down the offer of a pint afterwards...